Me and Abby out on the boat at Sardis (7/2010)
Have you ever thought to yourself, I want my child to make a difference? Or have you ever thought, when I have children, I want them to make a difference in someones life? Well, this is a "story" about one child that made a huge impact in, and on our life, and how, because of her love for her nursery workers, we found some of the best friends we've ever had.
About 4 years ago, my husband and I officially joined Germantown Baptist Church. It was a hard decision for me, and one I've blogged about before, so I'm not going to go into it again. We went to service weekly, but had no real ties to a Sunday School class, and didn't really know where to go to find one. As we were sitting in service one week, a plea was given for nursery workers for the next year. Most everyone knows my love of children runs deep, so I immediately went out and signed up to be a volunteer nursery worker. I was open to whatever age they gave me, and thought it would be a fun way to spend my time before service. About two weeks later I was called and told I would be in the 18 month old room. Around the same time, our church went through a major split, complete with the pastor leaving, and most anyone I already knew high tailing it to another church. My first week in the nursery, we had 4 children. Yes, you read that right. At a big church like GBC we had just 4 kids....and it was sad. Over the course of the next few weeks, more and more children started coming back to church. Myself, along with my co-teacher Karen, would welcome these children with open arms, and teach them what little we could (not because of lack of knowledge but because of lack of attention span....theirs, not ours) about Jesus. There was supposed to be two rooms of this age group, but because of the split and sudden exodus from the church, our room was it. We had lots of little children that would love and hug on us, but one little girl captured my heart from the beginning. Her name was Abby.
Abby was the youngest of three girls in her family. Already feeling the kindred connection because I grew up with two sisters, I would pry her from her parents arms each week,and then sit her in my lap until she was ready to play. When she got tired, or upset, she would always seek me out, and want to sit with me. Seldom did a week go by that I wouldn't get a big smile, and warm hug from my "sweet Abby." By this time Donnie had started working in the class too, and on the occasion I was busy, she would immediately go to him, which was odd since there was another female teacher in the room.
Abby was a faithful attender. Her parents brought her in week after week, seldom missing church, except when sick. She always had on cute little dresses, and big bows in her hair. Of course, her hair was so fine, the bows would slip out, so most of the time we spent trying to get her hair put back up before her parents came to get her. The room began to get too small as another large church in the area was having some issues, and some of their congregation were now coming to GBC. In about six months, they had to open another classroom for the 18 month olds, and they were going to split them up by birth date. Well, a few of the mom's got upset because their kids were used to us, so the way these children got split was, if they were regular attenders they stayed with Karen, Donnie and me, and if they were occasional attenders they were sent to the other class. On any given Sunday our room would average 18 children, while the other room averaged 5. Some days we were overwhelmed, and some days we made it just fine. Now, looking back, I can see God's hand in how we met our friends. If the parents of some children had not said anything, dear Abby would've been put in the other class because of her birth date, which is in April. The cut off was supposed to be March. Isn't God neat?
So as the year went on, we learned more and more about Abby. We often joked with her parents over the "gate" as they handed her off to us, and though we didn't know their names we would always say how much we liked "Abby's parents", and how we could easily "hang out with them." ***Side note....this is always how Donnie and I label new people we meet. They either go in the "we could hang out with them" or "no way would we hang out with them" category.*** Pretty soon Abby's parents started inviting us to bible studies and other things their class did, and pretty soon we met all kinds of friends that were a part of their Sunday school class. We soon learned their names, other than Abby's parents, and found we enjoyed spending time with them learning God's word.
Over the next few months Abby started talking. She would come in, point to me and say what sounded like "sassy." We would ask her if she wanted her "sissy," "paci," anything that rhymed with sassy, and she would say no and point to me. Donnie and I both thought this was funny, and eventually told her parents. I even accused them of saying "that Kim Blair is too sassy." But they denied it, and I realized that this sweet little girl had come up with a nickname for me. Once Abby was able to say Donnie's name, it came out Don-Don. Though she knows us by our real names, she will not call us Donnie and Kim, but yet refers to us simply as Sassy and Don-Don. When that season of our life was over, and we went back to adult Sunday School, we of course went to the Carney class. Why did we go there and not visit any other class? We went because their 18 month old daughter had reached out to us, relative strangers, and made us feel at home.
We had the opportunity to go with our friends, the Carney's, to Sardis lake the weekend of the 4th of July. We had an awesome time, and made many, MANY, laughable memories that weekend. Out of everything we did, and all the laughs we had, do you know what made my heart smile the most? It was every time I heard one of the girls call my name to play with them, rescue them from the current, fix them something to eat or drink, or just watch TV. While some people may think it would be annoying, I smiled each and every time I heard the name.....Sassy.
Because of this sweet girl, and the friendship we developed with her parents, we've been able to meet, and make some of the best friends we've ever had....ever. Their is a group of us that go out to lunch on Sundays, which by the way has been too long since we were all in town, that we affectionately call "the Sunday lunch crew." We've met friends that have stayed at our church for a season, then left to go elsewhere, I guess to be disciples (smile) because let's face it, who wouldn't want to be a part of our class? We have friends that when we've been out several Sunday's send harassing emails like "are you going somewhere else?" or "When are you coming back-the room has been too serious." Or friends that when I send out an email and say "I'm not crazy but...." I get replies back that say "Of course we know you are crazy...." Sometimes I wonder where we would be had we never worked that class 4 years ago? Would we still be lost in the congregation somewhere? Would we even still be at GBC? I don't know, but I wouldn't change how it is now for anything. And it's all because of the love of a child!
So, whenever you feel like your child may never make a difference, remember our "story" and how a little, 18 month old girl named Abby, led us to some of the best friends we've ever had!